In Greater Boston’s city of Malden, Massachusetts, an inter-generational community of thirty households hired an architecture firm and collectively designed their cohousing community. Responding to the cohousing community’s request for collective living in an urban setting, French2D designed a typology-challenging building with individual residential units connected by a framework of shared spaces. The result is a 48,700 sqft unique and colorful type of multi-family housing. It is one of a growing number of cohousing projects in the United States.
In July, Las Vegas unveiled an extravagant spectacle – a colossal LED-wrapped spherical structure, standing 366 feet tall and 516 feet wide. This entertainment event venue instantly captured the public’s gaze, becoming a local landmark and attracting global attention through extensive news coverage. Similar spherical concepts have been proposed in London and at a smaller scale in Los Angeles. These massive display structures open up questions about facades as digital canvases. What role can architecture take as an urban canvas other than as a billboard? And what are different ways for architecture to engage the public through digital art besides gigantic LED spheres?
Cities across the US are struggling to fill their office spaces. Major cities like Washington DC, Boston, and San Francisco have increasingly vacant downtowns, while the urban centers of small Rust Belt cities struggle to survive altogether. This trend is consistent beyond the US, with over three-quarters of Europe’s office buildings at risk of obsolescence by the decade’s end. The cause of this, in most cases, is simple: an oversupply of offices and a shift towards remote work. These vacant buildings can trigger a negative domino effect of economic and social challenges for cities, and their surplus, coupled with a housing shortage, has sparked discussions among cities and architects about the impending necessity to transform offices into housing.
In September of this year, New York City experienced a severe storm that inundated its streets with more than 7 inches of rain in less than 24 hours, causing a number of roads to close, cars to submerge, and buses to get trapped. This event again highlighted the city’s old infrastructure’s inability to handle fast and heavy rainfall. As climate change intensifies, experts warn that such extreme weather events will become increasingly frequent. This vulnerability is especially concerning in densely populated urban areas such as New York City, where flooding risks increase due to the large amounts of impervious surfaces.
Despite the bad reputation of public housing in the United States, organizations, planners, and architects in Portland, Oregon are determined to create affordable housing that does not sacrifice quality or aesthetic appeal. While Portland has developed a bad reputation regarding its homelessness problem, in the past four years resources have flowed in the right direction, and designers have taken this in stride to design livable and striking buildings, within very restrictive budgets. Through innovative and creative approaches to construction and design, these organizations and designers have utilized federal, state, and city resources to make these types of projects a reality.